Friday, 15 September 2017

Choosing The Best Doors, Windows And Conservatories For You With SEHBAC

What did you get up to at the weekend? Last Saturday I was invited to visit the new SEHBAC show centre in Colchester. SEHBAC create bespoke home improvements including windows, doors and conservatories across Essex, London and the South East. Investing money in your home is a difficult decision and you want to ensure you make the right choices to meet your needs as well as improving the value you of your home. How do you choose exactly what you need and who to trust with your purchase?

A corridor inside a airy show room with single story brick extensions on the left and doors visible on the right

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Review: Snazaroo Mini Theme Face Paint Packs with Weekend Box

Last weekend we were sent a special package to review from the Weekend Box Club with Snazaroo. The Weekend Box Club send out parcels with crafty activities for children and this special box contained two new compact Snazaroo face paint products (available in shops soon priced £2.99). The mini face paint kits contain all you need to get painting your family’s face and we all found them great fun. 

Snazaroo mini theme pack used to create a yellow super hero mask with white lightning bolts and black outline

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Why I love Ocado

I feel I need to start this post by saying it isn’t a collaborative post and I haven’t been paid or incentivised in anyway to write it. I have been an Ocado customer for years and despite trying a few other home delivery services I haven’t found any others I am happy with. No company is perfect, and I’ve had a few grumbles, but I still love Ocado. Find out why...

A pile of shopping bags and a veg box from Ocado

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Why I don't want to get married ... again

Wedding season draws to a close for 2017 but my Facebook newsfeed is once again full of wedding photo's. Beautiful people in beautiful dresses. People I once used to laugh with and think of as friends. People who have long forgotten me. You see all the photographs remind me of what would be missing from my wedding if I were ever to get married again... friends.

A blurred photo of people dancing in a hall at a wedding

Saturday, 2 September 2017

My Toddler At 19 Months

Which animal describes my youngest daughter best? If you asked me when we got off the aeroplane last week I would definitely have said an octopus, but I think the most similar animal is still a monkey. Admittedly she doesn’t fling her poo, but she has been found with it on her hands a few times. Add in her mischievous ways and how she loves to entertain people and there are definitely monkey tendencies. It has been a great month playing in the sun, spending plenty of time with Big Sister and a whole load of chatting, but what else has Little been up to this month?

A collage of 9 photographs of my toddler including: wearing my flip flops, asleep in a pushchair, eating a baguette, sitting in the garden, in a water tray, hugging her sister, wearing a bucket on her head, smiling with her mummy and running around in a swimming nappy

Friday, 1 September 2017

Review: Thinking outside the box with Gel-a-Peel

This summer Big Sister and I have been playing with Gel-a-Peel. These tubes of gel come in a set with stencils to create your own jewellery which can be worn when dry. After creating a few bracelets we got creative and personalised some headphones because the gel is great to decorate items too. The best thing is once dry you can peel the gel off most non-porous surfaces and start all over again when you fancy a change.

A close up of a gel-a-peel template with a young girl squeezing the gel out to create a bracelet

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Fabulous Finds for August 2017 - Recommendations From Others

August had been a busy month thanks to the school holidays so this month’s Fabulous Finds post is slightly different; I have asked some other bloggers what brilliant finds they found recently. As bloggers are often given products and the chance to experience amazing things, it can make it hard to really impress us. Below are reviews of products (and a holiday) which look truly fabulous. Please check out the links for the full reviews.

A collage of 9 photographs as seen throughout this post with text over the top saying Fabulous Finds from other bloggers August 2017

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Summer Holiday Challenges When Co-Parenting

I've just spent a week away with my girls and today I am sitting here feeling something is missing. This morning I left my eldest daughter with her Dad for a few days and I hate that I can't share the last week of Summer holidays with her. That's the problem with co-parenting; you have to share your child.

Underwater photograph of my big girl and me pulling faces in a swimming pool

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Review: Boots Mini Club Fearne Collection AW17

Earlier this month we were invited to the launch of the new Boots Mini-Club collection and their first celebrity collaboration: Fearne. Fearne Cotton is a really cool, sensible Mum and the collection of kid’s clothes she helped design is unsurprisingly stylish, practical and excellent value.

Fearne Cotton talking about some items from her new collaboration with Boots Mini-Club

Friday, 18 August 2017

Staying at Center Parcs In Europe

We’ve just come back from our first proper family holiday. After much deliberation, searching and trying to justify the cost of amazing beach resorts we decided to go to Center Parcs in Europe. Center Parcs promised to have activities to entertain us all and we could drive there saving a lot of money on flights. Even with the poor performing Pound against the Euro Center Parcs in Europe are much cheaper than in the UK. We stayed at De Kempervennen just inside the Dutch border and had a great holiday.

A wooden walkway and a pond with stork like birds and blue parrots

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Review: Delicious YourZooki Omega 3

My diet isn’t great at the best of times and when pregnant it is worse than normal. For some reason I completely go off vegetables and spend most of the 9 months wanting to eat toast and chips. Obviously pregnancy is one of the times it is even more important than normal to eat properly, and if you don’t, to take supplements. One of the supplements I have most trouble with is Omega 3. Even when I’m not pregnant I hate the smell of fish oil so I might have been a little over excited when I tried the Omega 3 from YourZooki. It's a Omega 3 supplement which doesn’t taste of fish, in fact it’s delicious! (Post contains affiliate links).

A white bottle of Omega Zooki next to a spoon with an orange liquid in
Photo credit: YourZooki

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Review: Big Beard Battle

Normally when we see toy adverts on TV it’s my eldest daughter asking if we can buy it, but when I saw the advert for Big Beard Battle it was me going “Ooooo!”.  A game where you look daft and have to grow long colourful beards sounded like the perfect game for my family so I was super excited when we got the chance to review it.

The Big Beard Battle box, spinner, blue beard pieces and the plastic razor

Monday, 14 August 2017

Giveaway: East India Company Nuts and Biscuits

It's half way through the school holidays for us and I have mixed feelings. Part of me is "yay, we are half way through and we're surviving", the other part of me is thinking "it's moving too fast, time needs to slow down". School holidays make it harder to work, but Little Sister and I are enjoying having Big Sister around. Of course there are the occasional meltdowns too. If you need a bit of a treat and me time to recover from the school holidays then these luxuries from the East India Company are definitely adults only.

Two tubes on a white background, a dark packet labelled macadamia nuts and a white packet containing "CCC"

Friday, 11 August 2017

How I Became A Stay At Home Mum

I never expected to be a stay at home mum. I have always wanted kids, but I wouldn’t describe myself as particularly maternal. After my first child there was never any question about me going back to work full time. I loved my job and even if I hadn’t we were dependent on my income. My daughter needed constant stimulation and I knew she would love nursery while I enjoyed the luxury of going to the toilet without company.

Roll forwards 4 years and my (new) partner and I made the decision that I wouldn’t go back to work after maternity leave with my second child. I now bring in a small income through blogging, but my primary role (at least in the daytime hours) is childcare. Most days I am happy and at peace with the world. So what changed?

A silly selfie of me and my youngest daughter

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Review: Wooden Castle from SRI Toys

Banner advert saying: Educational wooden toys, the home of happy faces 10% off

I love wooden toys so I was excited we were sent a toy from SRI Toys to review. Their hand crafted wooden toys encourage creative play. We were sent a castle set which comes complete with knights, royalty and a wizard. I loved the simple wooden pieces, but what did my children think when I gave them the wooden set to play with? 

Playing with a small grey, slotted together castle on a wooden floor. Wooden character pieces are in the foreground

Monday, 7 August 2017

The Surprising Impact Of Taking Magnesium Glycinate (Review)

A number of people suggested I try taking magnesium to help prevent my migraines, I was dubious, but I tried a magnesium spray and found I didn’t notice any difference from using it. I was offered a review of Magnesium Glycinate tablets by Nutri Advanced so I thought I would see if they worked any better for me. I have been taking the tablets for a month and I’ve noticed a difference, but not the one I expected.

A white tub of Magnesium Glycinate on a black background with white tablets spilling out

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Review: Wobbly Worm Ring Throwing Game

A game which makes people laugh, encourages you to play together and improves coordination. That’s got to be a winner right? We were sent the Wobbly Worm game to review, read on to find out what we thought of it. 

A girl with a pink hoop on her head throwing another hoop over the head of a green plastic worm

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Days Out With A Toddler Linky August 2017

I am super excited to be host the Days Out with a Toddler Linky this month. This is the place to join up your posts (old and new) of anywhere great to go with little ones. The Linky normally lives at Babyfoote so visit her next month for the September link up.


Friday, 4 August 2017

My Toddler at 18 Months

At 18 months I’m calling it, I have to face that Little is now much more of a toddler than a baby. The short hair makes her look younger, but her expressions and behaviour are definitely toddler like. We have had a lovely month and spent a lot of time with Big Sister and G thanks to a family holiday. My little monkey loved being on holiday and all the activities at Centerparcs. She seems to communicate more every day and finds new ways to cause chaos.

A toddler sitting on wooden floor next to her big sister while big sister colours in her colouring book

Thursday, 3 August 2017

My Cat and the Kitten Kollege Exams

My kitten, Mittens, is now a year old and with the move from kitten food to adult food I guess she is now offically a cat. This makes it the perfect time to test her development in partnership with WHISKAS®. How will she do in her exams as she graduates from Kitten Kollege?

A little tabby kitten on a blue sofa looking at the hands of a baby

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Giveaway: Dodo Acad-Pad Mid Year Diary

It might only be the beginning of August, but thoughts are already turning to going back to school. If you want to help get you and your family organised this academic desk diary from Dodo Pad is a great way to do it. I love to start fresh again half way through the year and these humorous and spacious planners are brilliant.

A diary with a yellow cover, ring binger, and a picture of a dodo on the front


Monday, 31 July 2017

Fabulous Finds For July 2017

July is the month when all thoughts turn to summer holidays, even if the weather isn't great. My Fabulous Finds for this month include super value suncream, flip flops, beer, activities for children, bodywash for after swimming and a couple of great blogging finds (contains some affiliate links). I also had an extra post this month for Free From Fabulous Finds with a great selection of dairy free, gluten free and vegan foods.

A collage showing all 9 fabulous finds for July 2017 as detailed below


Friday, 28 July 2017

Review: Great Hair with Argan Oil Extract Moisture Drench Shampoo and Conditioner

What my hair really needs is a good hair cut, but as I doubt I will get to the hairdressers for a while I have been looking for a great shampoo and conditioner which will help stop my super dry hair getting so knotty. Baylis and Harding sent me their great hair Moisture Drench Shampoo and Conditioner to review and I have been testing it out.

A bottle of shampoo in a white bottle and conditioner in a turquoise plastic bottle.  

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Review: Craft Time Mini Mosaics

I’m always looking for compact activities we can take away with us when we go on long car journeys or aeroplanes. We were sent a couple of new Craft Time Mosaics from Brainstorm and they arrived just in time for our holidays. A long drive to the Netherlands was the perfect travel opportunity to test out these stick on mosaic patterns so when M started asking for the iPad I suggested she completed one of the kits instead. Luckily she was excited to have a go.

The Dolphin and Pony mosaic sets in their packaging

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Recipe: Dairy Free Chocolate Brownie

I love a rich, gooey chocolate brownie so I’ve modified my favourite recipe from Konditor & Cook and made it dairy free. This means I can continue to indulge in one of my favourite treats even though I'm not eating any dairy at the moment. This rich brownie is perfect for chocolate lovers.


Monday, 24 July 2017

The Gruffalo's Child Trail at Thorndon Country Park

The Gruffalo trail in Thorndon Country Park, Brentwood, Essex has recently been rebranded as the Gruffalo’s Childs trail. We went for a stroll in the deep dark wood to find out what has changed.

A wooden carving of the Gruffalo's child next to a girl in a pink coat holding the gruffalo's child book up


Sunday, 23 July 2017

Fabulous Finds for July - Free From Special

My visit to the Free From and Allergy Show introduced me to a huge number of dairy free products I wasn't familiar with. I dedicatedly munched and slurped my way through them to find the best of the bunch. I found so many products to recommend that this month I have an extra addition of Fabulous Finds to showcase the Free From finds.

A collage of photographs showing the free from products highlighted in the post


Saturday, 22 July 2017

Review: Garden Games with TJ Hughes

Long Summer days are perfect for making childhood memories. We love going out to the farm, zoo or parks, but some of our best days are spent relaxing at home. With home comforts and no time pressures we all seem to be more chilled and there are less arguments. I love seeing my daughters playing together in the garden so thank you to TJ Hughes for sending us a couple of review items to make the summer days at home even more fun. We were sent a Disney Mickey Mouse Patio Set and a swing ball set to review and my girls have been testing them out.

Blue table, chairs and sun umbrella with Mickey Mouse theme

Friday, 21 July 2017

How To Limit TV For Kids Without Tears

It won’t surprise you to hear my children love to watch TV.  In fact we all love to watch TV, but when my girls watch too much I notice their behaviour can get worse. The compromise? I make TV time a treat, a reward for good behaviour and special family time. How do I do this? Well it helps to have a great TV like the Panasonic HDR 4K TV, but read on for my tips on how to limit TV watching and make it more special.  *Collaborative Post*

Two girls aged 5 and 1 sitting on a sofa focused on something in the difference
Absorbed in the Television

Thursday, 20 July 2017

First Year Of School

Wow, what a difference a school year makes. Today was the last day of Reception for Big Sister. That’s a whole school year persuading her she needs to be out of the house, suitably dressed and on time. Impressively we haven’t been late once, but there have been a number of mornings my throat has been sore from shouting. We have gone through 3 pairs of school shoes, lost countless cardigans and her book bag looks tattered from being dragged around. The changes to her belongings over the last 11 months is nothing compared to the changes I can see in M.

A picture of M in a green and white checked summer dress on her first day in Reception next to her last day in Reception
First day of Reception and last day of Reception

Monday, 17 July 2017

Giveaway: Niederegger Chocolate Marzipan

July is a fun time as a “mummy” blogger, obviously there is the mad rush to get as much work done and scheduled before the school holidays start, but the great thing about July is Christmas In July events. Every July loads of fab brands hold press shows to demo their latest products and what they think customers will want to buy for Christmas. For a blogger who can write and publish a post the same day it seems a little crazy to be thinking that far ahead, but print magazines don’t have the luxury of such a fast turn around.

A Classic Dark Bar, A Classic Milk Bar and a 100g box of Double Loaves


Sunday, 16 July 2017

A Tale As Old As Time

I was so excited when I saw “Beauty and The Beast” is about to be released on DVD that I actually said “eek” out loud. I recognise it isn’t the greatest film in the world, some of the acting and singing could be better, but there is something about the film. It’s the Disney of my childhood.

Photo of Beauty and The Beast Album artwork showing Belle (Emma Watson) and a beast.


Friday, 14 July 2017

Review: Collagen Re-Inforce Elizabeth Grant Face Creams

As I get closer to 40 than 30 I recognise the years of broken sleep and poor diet haven’t exactly helped my skin. I was recently sent some products from Elizabeth Grant to review and after having a quick Google I found out they are a Canadian company which focuses on anti-ageing cream. Does reviewing anti-ageing products make me officially old?

Close up of packaging of Elizabeth Grant creams in silver, white and grey


Tuesday, 11 July 2017

How Did People Manage To Parent Before Modern Inventions?

Like every parent each day has it’s ups and it’s downs. A few hours ago I was being cuddled as I took my daughter upstairs for her nap. I thought to myself how lucky I am that I get to spend my day having lovely cuddles, I didn't get so many when I had a job. But now, only 3 hours later, I am sitting on the sofa exhausted and wondering just how did people parent before all of our amazing modern technology? How did I get from there to here? What went wrong? It was that nap.

A close up of a toddler asleep in a car seat with her head at an angle

Monday, 10 July 2017

Choosing A Dream Pet

Getting a pet is a big commitment: they need to be fed, cleaned and looked after.  They can be your friend for months or even decades so it’s pretty hard to choose the perfect pet. I think mine would be one that loved a cuddle and didn’t make a mess. We’ve all been thinking about what our dream pet would be after Petplan invited us to take part in a campaign where they would create a cuddly version of an animal drawn by my eldest daughter.

A young girl with big blue eyes cuddling an alien in bed

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Review: The Search For School Shoes Which Can Survive School

I have no idea what my daughter does at school all day. If I ask her I generally get “I don’t remember”, but whatever it is it’s clearly pretty tough on her shoes. Last time I bought her a new pair they looked awful after just one day. Term Footwear have a new range of school shoes and they offered us a pair to review. Would they survive better than her previous two pairs bought from a popular high street shoe shop? 

A pair of bruised legs, white socks and Term Footwear school shoes

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

An Afternoon Tea To Remember #RLDTasters

If you are looking for an afternoon tea with a difference you might want to head to Paradise Wildlife Park in Broxbourne, Hertfordshire. I have spent many long days at this zoo with my daughters in the playgrounds, on the train, in the sand pit, in the splash pool and even occasionally looking at animals. When Red Letter Days invited me to taste one of the experiences on offer at the zoo I was excited to have a look around child free and have afternoon tea with the some tigers! 

A tiger lying on a wooden platform


Monday, 3 July 2017

Those Monday Morning Conversations

“How was your weekend?”, “Good thank you, yours?”. That’s the conversation you are meant to have on a Monday morning. It’s the Monday alternative to “how are you?” “fine thanks, you?” . It’s not even expected that you share what you actually did and you definitely shouldn’t say anything negative. It’s just what people say all over the country as they greet each other in offices every Monday morning. It’s the same for my new SAHM life with the school run too, but fortunately children make it more interesting.

Filling a small paddling pool with a hose while a toddler stands in it fully clothed

Friday, 30 June 2017

Fabulous Finds for June 2017

Welcome to the first in a new series on my blog where I will be sharing all the amazing things I discover each month. I often share products I have discovered on social media, but I thought this series would be a great way to pull everything together.

It's likely to be an eclectic mix and this month I'm including: food, clothes, beauty and kids TV. A few of these products I was given to try and the rest I have discovered all on my own.

A collage of the 9 photographs below with the text Fabulous Finds June 2017


Thursday, 29 June 2017

My Baby At 17 Months

Oh what a challenging little monkey I have on my hands. Little can play happily on her own for ages, but if I pop to the toilet I can come back to find her on the table about to drop a vase on the floor. It’s hard to be mad when she looks up at me with her cheeky grin. I feel I have been saying “No” a lot to her this month, and it’s no surprise she now likes to say it back to us.  What else has she been up to?

Sisters sitting on ride on colourful tractors at Lee Valley Farms

Monday, 26 June 2017

Review and Giveaway: Sensse Deep Pore Suction Cleanser

I knew things would change after the birth of my second child, but I didn’t expect one of those changes to be the amount of make up I wear. Before her birth I wouldn’t be seen out of the house without mascara, eyeliner, foundation and concealer, but on several occasions recently I have glanced in the mirror at the end of the day and noticed I forgot to put any make up on. 

It might be that I have no time, more distractions, less mirrors or that I’m just letting myself go, whatever the reason wearing less make up means looking after my skin has become more important because I’m not covering up my spots. Yes that’s right, I’m in my mid-thirties and I still have spots, how is that fair? I was given the chance to review a Deep Pore Suction Cleanser from Sensse and I thought it sounded like a great way to try and improve my skin. If you like the sound of it there is also a giveaway to win one for yourself at the end of this post.

The cleanser, the lid, 3 clear attachments and a USB charging base

Sunday, 25 June 2017

You can't walk around topless and 9 other things they don't tell you about breastfeeding

There are courses, books and websites to help you learn how to breastfeed.  If you need more help getting established, or a personal touch, you can speak to midwives, peer supporters or even a lactation consultant. Information and support can be essential in building a good feeding relationship, but what you hear less about is breastfeeding beyond the newborn stage. As you get more confident and your baby becomes more active breastfeeding changes. 

Here are ten things they don’t tell you about breastfeeding beyond the newborn stage.

close up of a newborn baby latched on to a nipple breastfeeding

Thursday, 22 June 2017

How To Plan A Great Family Holiday

The recent heatwave has reminded me that the summer holidays are very nearly here. Although we were determined to go away as a family this year I found booking a holiday a little bit daunting. Where should we go? What sort of accommodation? Where should we look? We eventually found somewhere we can afford that will be great for me, my partner, my 5 year old and our 1 year old, but it wasn’t easy. To make it easier for others here’s my advice on how to plan a great family holiday.

A girl in a swimming costume reaching it to a water fountain

Monday, 19 June 2017

Review and Giveaway: The Very Hungry Caterpillar 3D craft kits from Rainbow Designs

Everyone knows The Very Hungry Caterpillar and instantly recognises the style of the World of Eric Carle. The bright art work is a great inspiration to get crafty and Rainbow Designs have a fab collection of kits to make it easy. We were sent a Colour and Construct 3D character cardboard set and a Super Dough Model Kit to review. Rainbow Designs have also kindly provided one of each to give away and you can enter at the bottom of the post. M loved making the Very Hungry Caterpillar and friends come to life in 3D.

A young girl colouring in a cardboard ladybird


Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Review: Firefly Young Driver Lessons

My 5 year old loves to sit in the driver’s seat of my car pretending to drive. She has done this for years, but recently she has started asking if she can actually drive my car. Of course I told her she was too young and she was going to have to wait 12 years, but then I had a chat with the Young Driver team. They have real cars which under 17s can drive. Unfortunately M is too young for the proper cars, but they also have Firefly 2 seater mini cars for children aged 5 to 10 and we were offered the chance to review a lesson.

My daughter standing with attitude and holding her drivers license in front of a red two seater open top car with "Young Driver" on the side

Monday, 12 June 2017

School Sports Day: The Good, The Bad And The Incredibly Competitive Dads

There were a few things that surprised me about my eldest's first sports day: it didn’t rain (the school clearly knew better than all the weather apps), they had an egg and spoon race (but no sack, wheelbarrow or three-legged race) and how seriously sports day was taken.

A young girl in yellow t-shirt, black shorts and blue hat is walking with good posture in the egg and spoon race. The egg has just fallen off the spoon.

Friday, 9 June 2017

Sharing a Family Meal at Prezzo with La Famiglia

Like many families we have a dining room table where we eat all our meals, but during the week there is never more than 3 of us sitting down together. It’s more usual for only 1 or 2 of us to eat at a time. Even at the weekends when we do eat together I get up countless times each meal. Requests for drinks, more food and grabbing replacement cutlery as the original set falls on the floor punctuate my meal.  It’s a real treat to go out and eat together because someone else gets to do the running around and we can enjoy some quality time together.

A Dad and 2 children sitting at a table in front of a window surrounded by wooden beams

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Letter To My Eldest Daughter, Still So Full Of Innocence

“I don't need anyone to hold my hand, I'm safe on my own.”

Oh baby, how I wish that was true. At five years old your innocence is beautiful and I don't want to shatter it. You don't yet understand just how evil the world can be. I tell you there are bad people and you think you understand, you think you would be able to get away, but you don't know all the ways that isn't true.

A young girl with long blonde hair and a green dress


Monday, 5 June 2017

Blogging Conferences and Minions Puzzle Giveaway

It feels like ages ago that I was at BlogOn, but it was only a couple of weeks. With the attacks in Manchester and London (not to mention all the others abroad) it’s been hard to be motivated to carry on with the every day, but carry on we must.

Blog On is a conference in Manchester for bloggers of all genres, but a lot of the attendees seem to be mums (I’m not sure I would dare to call them “mummy bloggers” though). It’s one of the smaller blogging conferences in the calendar year, but it has a good reputation due to the effort put into it by the organiser Laura and the amazing goody bags.


Thursday, 1 June 2017

Review: Tots Tramp at Better Extreme Waltham Forest

I was recently invited to review Better Extreme in Waltham Forest where they have great sessions with a playzone, trampoline park, ninja run and climbing. It looked like so much fun, but I didn't have childcare for my youngest so I had to turn down the opportunity. Shortly afterwards I was invited to try out their new Tots Tramp sessions. These special sessions have access to soft play and the trampolines, but it's just for little ones (under 6 years old). I excitedly went along with Little on a Wednesday morning to try it out. 

A photograph of adult feet in Orange Better Extreme socks either side of Toddler feet in Blue Better Extreme Socks